Just wanted to toss in my 2 cents on the whole RSS vs Web Feed issue.
A brief summary: RSS (really simple syndication) lets you subscribe to websites, podcasts and other things. Once you have worked out how to use it your internet browsing is changed forever. Instead of having to go back to a website to see if its changed, your subscription service sends you the latest news and headlines.
There is an RSS feed for this site – its the orange icon on the bottom right hand corner of the browser. If you have an RSS agregator or reader, you put the link into it and you started getting updates of the site when I make them. You don’t have to give me any information like an email address to subscribe to a newsletter. You come and go as you please.
Sounds great doesn’t it? Microsoft thinks so too and the are incorporating RSS into the next version of Windows – Vista – formerly known as longhorn. It’s due out late next year. Probably. But Microsoft are planning on putting RSS into Vista in a big way – especially Internet Explorer 7.
However Microsoft want to call it Web Feeds – not RSS. They feel RSS is a bit techy and complicated to explain. Web Feed sounds simple and easy enough. Of course this is upsetting a lot of people who claim Microsoft are trying to reinvent RSS in their own image. Much like they tried to do with html, css, media files, document files and pretty much anything else.
I actually like the term Web Feed. It makes it easier to explain to someone what it is. RSS just sounds weird and unfriendly. I think once you know what it is – rather than what it stands for – its a good name for it. But the 30 second conversation of introducing it to someone and explaining what it does – I’ve just had too many of those in my life of being a geek. Why can’t we find a simpler way of describing things?
Eventually I think the term Web Feed will slowly become more accepted. We will probably still use the RSS / XML buttons – but know them as Web Feed buttons.